Social Video As The New Landing Page With Brendan Gahan Of Epic Signal

Social Video As The New Landing Page With Brendan Gahan Of Epic Signal

Brendan Gahan, founder of Epic Signal, talks about social video as the new landing page. Brendan says that social video needs to act as a more self-contained landing page because customers are now visiting fewer websites and traditional websites. The Epic Signal agency handles campaigns for many major brands, and was purchased by Mekanism in 2015. Note that this podcast was recorded before Vidcon, so some details may have changed since then.

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GUEST: Brendan Gahan of Epic Signal and Mekanism. See Brendan on BrendanGahan.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, and read his post “Social Video is the New Landing Page.”

HOST: Dane Golden of HEY.com | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support!

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value Podcast from HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners, just like you, get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden. Today we have a special guest, Brendan Gahan of Epic Signal. Welcome, Brendan.

Brendan Gahan:
Thanks. Thanks for having me. Pumped to be on the show.

Dane Golden:
I am pumped as well. I asked you on today to talk about this blog post I saw you wrote called Social Video as the New Landing Page. Does that work for you?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, yeah. Pumped to chat about it.

Dane Golden:
All right. But first, you run this amazing agency called Epic Signal, and you started it. Why did you start it?

Brendan Gahan:
That’s a good question.

Dane Golden:
And what does it do?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, for sure. So, we’re a social agency, we’re now owned by Mekanism, which is a larger, independent creative agency. We’re a social agency, and originally we started out focused on, you know, social video primarily, doing work with influencers, as well as a lot of YouTube content strategy and channel optimization. Since then, those capabilities have expanded pretty dramatically. You know, we’re really a full-service social shop, in the sense that, you know, we do community management for a ton of the brands, content creation, partnerships, stunts, you know, social analytics and reporting. As well as the stuff that, you know, was really key in the beginning, the influencer marketing, the content strategy. You know, we’re doing tons of branded content. But I really think our kind of point of differentiation and the thing that, you know, we know so well, you know, kind of goes back to digital video. You know, I’d started it kind of by accident, originally, had started out. I left a startup and was consulting, and there’s just such a demand, you know, it was the right place, right time. Clients just kind of came out of the woodwork, and before you knew it I, you know, had hired people, and I was running a small agency, and, you know, we had great clients. I didn’t necessarily start out to, you know, launch an agency. So, kind of once it got to a good place, I was pretty pumped to sell and partner with Mekanism, and I’m really happy to be part of that family.

Dane Golden:
I’ve known you for a while, and you’re a very humble person. Let’s just talk about some of these amazing brands for a second that you’ve helped, because they’ve got some huge names. So, what are these, and some of the projects that people know?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, for sure. So, right now we work with a lot of brands. On the East Coast, some of the brands are, let’s see, we work with a lot of Unilever brands, we work with a lot of the MillerCoors brands, you know, Keystone Light, Coors Banquet, etc. We are doing some work with a Coca-Cola brand, we do some work with some Georgia-Pacific brands. Then on the West Coast, there’s work with Charles Schwab, Papa Murphy’s, which is, you know, big in the Pacific Northwest, they’re actually the fifth largest pizza chain. Oh, go ahead. Dropbox, etc.

Dane Golden:
So no big deal, just some of the biggest brands in the world.

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, I mean, big brands, for sure. Big, big, brands.

Dane Golden:
So you wrote this enticing concept on your personal blog called Social Video as the New Landing Page. But what the heck does that mean? Why do we need a new landing page? What’s wrong with the landing page? And what’s new?

Brendan Gahan:
You know, it’s a nice analogy, I think for two reasons. One is, you know, your social content now needs to be kind of more self-contained. I mean, how many people are going to websites anymore? Not a whole lot. You know, everything’s very app-driven, and, you know, you’re glued to your, you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and you’re spending way more time there than going to individual websites. So, that was part of it, this idea that, you know, you need to be able to encapsulate your brand’s story in an individual piece of content, whereas before you could kind of rely on your website. Then, the other element, you know, as part of this concept was really that optimization and iteration is key. You know, back in the day, everybody was all about, you know, optimizing a landing page for conversion, and you got to mess with all the fonts and the layout, and, you know, take into account where people are coming from, and, you know, adjust messaging accordingly. That was, you know, was and is a very, you know, critical part of, you know, digital. But now, kind of much in the same way that people aren’t really going to landing pages anymore, and you kind of need to be able to package up the information in, you know, your social content, have it be more self-contained, you also need to have your social content and your web videos, in particular, your social videos, you’ve got to optimize those. Because you can’t just create one piece of content and push it out into the world and hope that performs. You’ve got to iterate on it, and, you know, customize messaging for different audiences, test intros, outros, etc. You know, everything right now is reliant upon paid, you know, primarily. It’s very rare that you can kind of make a video “go viral.” You really got to lean into paid. As a result, you want to get the most bang for your buck, so that means you’ve got to change your content and test what performs.

Dane Golden:
Right. You know, and let me ask a few questions about what you’ve just said there. So, one of the things I wanted to ask is about when you say you have many, many, types of ads, some businesses, they either think they need a ad, or the concept of just many ads is just so overwhelming, and, you know, let’s face it, it’s expensive. Some of the clients you have certainly, they build those costs in. But, how is that complexity of having many ads, what types of new challenges does that create?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, I think it creates a lot of new challenges, but I think it’s also a big opportunity. You know, you referenced costs as being prohibited, and while that’s true, it’s kind of like one of those things you can’t really afford not to do anymore. Because, you know, if you make two ads and one is going to perform twice as well as the other, you’d be screwed if you just ran the one ad that, you know, didn’t perform as well. So, you’ve always got to be making improvements. In terms of kind of how it’s impacting things, it’s impacting things pretty dramatically. I mean, as, you know, an ad agency, you need to kind of rework everything end to end from ideation, to, you know, the output. So, thinking about ideas and where they’re going to live, keeping in mind the audiences, maybe you need to do audience segmentation, and how is that going to inform the type of creatives that it’s going to resonate more? Then how are you going to create a concept where maybe you can, in the production process, seamlessly create something that allows you the flexibility to incorporate variables in a way that is not going to break the bank, you know? How can you, either shoot different intros or outros, or end cards, or, you know, incorporate different calls to action? You’ve got to plan that out in advance, so you’re not doing stuff in post, maybe you don’t have all those elements. So, you know, historically, it was all about what we’re going to create, you know, a 30 and a 60, and push it out to the world, and we’re kind of done. Now, it’s like 30, 60, 15, six, and within those, multiple versions. Then on top of that, you know, stills and gifs, etc.

Dane Golden:
So I assume we’re talking about the Facebook universe? More like Facebook, Instagram, but are we also talking about YouTube and everything else here?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah. I think this methodology applies to really everything. Conceptually, it’s really important for brands and advertisers to buy into this. Obviously there’s nuances within each of the individual platforms, but the same methodology and approach is really key. I think it’s a testament to that. We saw recently, I think a week and half, two weeks ago, YouTube announced the Bumper Machine, where basically they’re going to, via AI, automatically generate … yep.

Dane Golden:
That’s a funny name, the Bumper Machine.

Brendan Gahan:
Oh, yeah, yeah. They’re going to automatically generate from existing brand assets. So, if you’ve got a 60, you know, 30, 15, you know, you can input that stuff into the Bumper Machine, and via AI, they’ll spit out a handful of sixes that you can then select what works best. So clearly, they’re trying to get more brands to adopt, not just a new format, but also multiple versions of it, so that you can test and see what performs best. All of these platforms, you know, they want your ads to perform best. So they’re doing kind of everything they can to coax advertisers along, because the better results, the more their spends are going to increase.

Dane Golden:
Right. So, you know, you may be doing six seconds, you may be doing 60 seconds, and you also are doing images that go together. When you do an ad, and we have a variety of different types of listeners to this podcast. When you’re doing an ad campaign, it’s not just one ad, it’s not just one platform. You’re doing a whole bunch of different type of ad, sometimes they’re still images, but they remind you, as part of the same campaign, of a video that you’ve seen, they come at different stages and timelines. There’s a lot going on here.

Brendan Gahan:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dane Golden:
Also, you mentioned in your blog post that data is really important to figuring out what to plan. How is data important? And how is that changing over time?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, for sure. Well, I mean, I think a great example of how it’s important, well, taking a step back. I was reading in these articles, Zuckerberg in the Masters of Scale Podcast, said that Facebook was running up to 10,000 tests a day on audiences of 10,000 to 50,000 users. So Facebook is just driven by growth, so they’re constantly doing thousands of tests. That’s just a testament to how important all this is. It’s important to recognize that it’s not just a great idea. Yes, Facebook’s a great platform, great idea, but it’s all about having data inform, you know, your decision-making. So, in terms of how we apply that, I mean, there’s so many different stages. But, you know, when you’re talking about paid, and I’m sure our paid media team can speak to this far, far, better than I could. But, you know, you’re running multiple ad variations, and the stuff that Facebook deems as, you know, more valuable, stuff that’s … you know, they see the consumers engaging with, spending more time with, versus just, you know, bouncing out. If they see value in that, they’re cool to basically boost that and promote it more, and you’re going to get more efficiency with your ad spend. If it’s deemed as not being valuable to the consumer, you know, you’re showing them something that’s not relevant, they don’t like, they’re going to suppress that, so you’re going to have to spend more to get less. So, what you want to be doing is, essentially, taking those inputs, and having them inform your content. So, if you know your audience is reacting to the, you know, one call to action over the other, but, you know, they’re both pushing to the same, you know, sales page, have that and, you know, create more content by averaging the call to action that actually works, or the color scheme that works. All these different variables. I mean, anything you can come up with can inform kind of how a consumer engages. Maybe they like different colors, maybe they like seeing a guy over a girl, maybe they like seeing blondes over brunettes, maybe they like certain fonts. All these different, you know, inputs can have an impact over time. So, basically what you want to do is, from a macro perspective, see, you know, once you run all these ads, you know, which ones are the consumers working with? Which ones are working for the consumers? Do more of those, and the ones that aren’t, you know, remove those variables and just kill them.

Dane Golden:
Amazing stuff. Brendan Gahan, Social Video as the New Landing Page. Social Video as the New Landing Page. Brendan, how can people find out more about what Epic Signal is up to?

Brendan Gahan:
Yeah, I mean, they can just visit our website, E-P-I-C-S-I-G-N-A-L, you know, .com. Epicsignal.com. We’ve got, you know, all our creds and capabilities, and some case studies there. You know, they could also hit us up on social, or reach out to me. Any of those would work.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. Thank you Brendan Gahan of Epic Signal.

Brendan Gahan:
Thanks for having me, appreciate it.

Dane Golden:
Thank you. People will be able to find this episode by searching for HEY, and Brendan Gahan. His last name is spelled G-A-H-A-N. My name is Dane Golden. I want to thank you the listener for joining us today. I do this podcast, the Video Marketing Value Podcast from HEY.com, and all the videos, because I love helping marketers and business owners, just like you, grow your customer community through helpful how-to videos. Because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you’ll earn their loyalty, and their trust, and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Brendan Gahan of Epic Signal. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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